When people are fearful and when it seems increasingly that events around them are out of their control, they tend to lock onto some tangible reality no matter how absurd. Doomsday scenarios have been part of civilization since the beginning of human existence on this planet traversing the cosmos.
Human nature seems to want as the Germans would say—Gotterdammerung. Perhaps there is some collected sense of subconscious judgment which humans wish upon the world and themselves.
Perhaps it is a recessive memory of being tossed out of paradise. All cultures mention a place from the forgotten regions of the past where there was joy, peace, love and abundance. The mists of time may have faded Aidenn, but it is there just out of reach of the human hand.
They longed for the past and the future to be somehow tied with the present. These people were our progenitors.
To face a hostile world was a psychological trauma with which our progenitors wrestled daily. To add to the trauma a great flood occurred which destroyed the current society and culture.
One people of one tongue decided to build a tower to avoid doomsday. Unfortunately, the world’s first joint building project came to a dismal halt on that ancient plain of Shinar.
So what is a group of survivors to do? Fan out across the globe and establish communities independent of distant neighbors.
One such community was Sodom and Gomorrah. The cities of the plain on a sea with abundant life were the epitome of what the children of a global disaster could do, given time. Unfortunately, human enemies could be defeated with help from a desert nomad in search of his destiny, but out of the heavens a rain of fire and hail wiped the cities of the plain out of existence and turned the vibrant sea into a deadly sea of salt unfit for life.
We could continue to recite numerous examples down to the present—the Justinian Plague which wiped out half of Europe in the 6th century; the Black Death which began in Europe around 1347 and decimated 30% of the population; the China’s Yunnan Plague in 1894 which spread to Hong Kong, to Hawaii and San Francisco in 1900; World War I claimed 16 million lives; the Influenza Epidemic of 1918 killed over 50 million; World War II was over 60 million; Joseph Stalin’s regime (1924-53) 20 million; Mao Zedong’s regime (1949-1975) 40 million; the disintegration of the economy, political chaos, some religious people and groups gone wild, etc. No wonder there is a great deal of fear and uncertainty in the world today.
With these images burned into the collective consciousness, it is understandable that life on this planet hangs by a hair of a camel. If you want to make it current, it’s the oil on which the world depends and those few who control the flow. An economy built on fossil fuels is an economy facing extinction.
At the same time, as more intellectuals and scientists dismiss the notion of God or gods involved in human affairs, this leaves people facing the future with little hope. These modern Valhalla burners may believe that they are doing the world a favor by removing what they believe are relics of superstition which plague modern humans, but removing these supports and at the same time advocating a sectarian world view of the future may do more damage to the human psyche.
Take away the hope of a future, what remains? If the only future a person has is endless death, what is the use of living?
At least, with the prospect of an afterlife it gives people something tangible to grasp in their daily struggles. Not tangible in the scientific method, but tangible in the emotional complexity of the human soul which cannot be proven or disapproved by current means.
Does a belief in an afterlife give you comfort? Does religion play a part in your daily life? Is science a sufficient partner in your life quest? Are the affairs of earth in the hands of random chance? Do you have hope? What’s your worldview? Your cosmic view? What does your future hold after you close your eyes for the last time on this planet traversing the cosmos?
Ponderings on this 31st day of January, the last day of the first month of 2011…
G. D. Williams © 2011
Gotterdammerung – Siegfried’s Funeral March
The Mastersingers of Nuremberg – Overture